In this paper we investigate the most important visual stereotypes of chemistry as they occur in current portraits of chemists, depictions of chemical plants, and images of chemical glassware and apparatus. By studying the historical origin and development of these stereotypes within the broader context of the history of art and science, and by applying aesthetic and cultural theories, we explore what these images implicitly communicate about the chemical profession to the public. We conclude that chemists, along with commercial artists, have unknowingly created a visual image of chemistry that frequently conveys negative historical associations, ranging from imposture to kitsch. Other elements of this image, however, aestheticize chemistry in a positive manner by referring to classical ideals of beauty and borrowing from revered motifs of modern ar
Joachim Schummer & Tami I. Spector. The Visual Image of Chemistry: Perspectives from the History of Art and Science. HYLE--International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, Vol. 13, No.1 (2007).